What do moles eat?

April 21, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Zoology

Common garden moles are insectivorous, not vegetarian. Contrary to common belief, they very seldom eat vegetable food of any kind, their chief diet consisting of earthworms, grubs and various insects in the adult and larva stages. When the stomachs of these animals are examined vegetable food is not often found, and it is doubtful whether anybody has ever seen one of them eat such food.

Moles kept in captivity and given only vegetable food soon starve to death. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, most of the damage to bulbs, tubers, roots and seeds for which the common eastern mole is blamed is traceable to field mice that follow the mole runways.

Some direct damage to field and garden crops, however, is done by the large Townsend mole of the Pacific coast. Of course, the mole damages plants to some extent as if tunnels in search of worms and grubs.

The economic value of moles used to be recognized by law in France, where the killing of one of these animals was punishable by a fine. A mole burrows through the earth almost continually during its active season and even a fresh tunnel may extend for hundreds of feet. The tunnel is so small in circumference that the mole cannot turn around in it, but the animal can move backward almost as readily and speedily as forward, and its short, upright hair is adapted to pointing either way.

A mole eats almost continuously when active and requires so much nourishment that it can starve to death within twenty-four hours after eating its fill.


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